Desperately seeking a new job? You probably won’t land one until next year

Only a few sectors may still offer new employment opportunities from now until January. Picture: Tima Miroshnichenko/Pexels

Only a few sectors may still offer new employment opportunities from now until January. Picture: Tima Miroshnichenko/Pexels

Published Nov 9, 2023


If you are hoping to start 2024 with a brand new job, the chances are that you won’t succeed and will have to just keep grinding with your current employer for a couple months longer.

While there is a higher likelihood that those working in business and management, finance, IT, sales, or admin and office support could secure a new position before the end of this year, employees in other fields will probably have to ‘suck it up’ until about January/February.

Professional online recruitment platform Pnet unpacked the general hiring trends for IOL, explaining that the number of job advertisements posted on the website in December is typically lower than in other months.

Paul Byrne, head of data insights and customer success at Pnet, notes, though, that recruitment cycles do pick up significantly at the beginning of each new year.

“In other words, there are more job opportunities at the beginning of the year compared to the very end of the year.”

However, he points out that competition among job seekers is also much higher at the beginning of the year, with January and February being the platform’s busiest months in terms of job seeker traffic. This is because people tend to think about changing their careers and having a fresh ‘New Year’ start.

Why it’s hard to find a job in December

Byrnes says the reason that December has the fewest jobs advertised may partly be attributed to the fact that many South African companies have soft closures in December. In addition, employees may ‘hang on’ to their jobs in the hope of receiving year-end bonuses.

“The posted jobs pick up quickly in the first quarter though. January and February are the months that see the most jobs being advertised. That being said, there are still opportunities to be found on Pnet during the festive season.

“Last December, more than 20,000 jobs were advertised on Pnet’s platform, demonstrating that there are employment opportunities all year round.”

Apart from the slowdown in December, he says there is consistent hiring activity from January until November – with the exception of April, which tends to see a dip as a result of several public holidays during this period.

Job sectors that are in high demand, even in December

Currently, the sectors that are high in demand – and expected to continue being in demand between now and January 2024, and then beyond, are:

  • Business and Management
  • Finance
  • Information Technology (IT)
  • Sales
  • Admin, Office and Support

How you can help yourself land a new job in 2024

When comparing hiring activity for the Q4 2022, Byrnes says there has been a six percent year-on-year increase in employment offers.

“This is encouraging for companies and job seekers who are looking to grow businesses and careers in the country. For those still wondering about the impact the pandemic has had on jobs, we have seen a 30 percent growth in jobs offered from Q4 2020 to Q4 2022. This is another positive sign.”

Sharing advice for job seekers, he explains that Pnet has a dedicated “Data Insights’ team that consistently tracks and unpacks labour market trends and job market insights. Based on these data findings, relevant information can be fed to job seekers. The platform also publishes its Job Market Trends report on a quarterly basis, providing important insights into the labour market.

“While the report is accessible to anyone interested, it is highly valuable for job seekers to understand career and job trends. It’s crucial for job seekers to know which sectors and jobs are in high or declining demand as well as the requirements of certain roles, as this allows them to get a ‘first foot’ into an employer’s door.

“We also provide salary information to guide job seekers in their career choices, based on currently advertised vacancies.”

Pnet encourages job seekers to use December to get their recruitment profiles on the platform 100 percent up-to-date so that they can be found by recruiters, and also spend time updating and optimising their CVs so they can start January strong.

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